Monday, September 21, 2009

Will the real magical tiara please stand up?

From when my daughter was about 3 to when she was 5 or 6, I could go to the junk store with five bucks in hand and purchase glittery plastic tiaras and press on nails for her and they delivered untold hours of delight. Sparkle stickers, sequined purses, shimmering princess costumes.

Sparkle! Sparkle! Sparkle!

Little girls love sparkle. And every mom and dad out there knows that when the little neighborhood darlings converge on your living room floor, you'll be vacuuming up glitter for days. It comes with the territory, just like being a display mannequin for Barbie stickers and nail polish.

Although I am fascinated by the psyche all beauty pageants, nothing disgusts or infuriates me more than pageants for children. To deny any little girl the rhinestone tiara is cruel, but to tell her she only gets the tiara if she's cute or pretty or talented is monstrous.

Because if she loses, then you no longer have the option of giving her the junk store tiara. The junk store tiara is just junk. It's not like the tiara the girl with the curlier hair and frillier dress got at the pageant. The pageant tiara, which is borne of things false and sad, essentially usurps the real magic of the junk store tiara.

If the God People don't have a sin label for that one, they ought to.

Now then, is it any surprise that I am glued to the television whenever TLC's "Toddler's and Tiaras" airs?

That is the only embeddable clip I could find, although it's surely not the most representative. Here are a few more links that demonstrate why I watch "Toddlers and Tiaras" with such fascination:

"Marleigh's Mom" is still fascinated by tiaras. Bet she doesn't believe there's magic in the junk store ones.

Fake teeth and spray tans and wigs. Oh my! Does that woman have any idea what she's doing to a self-esteem that hasn't even sprouted yet?

Conversely, I found this clip sort of sweet and sad. As with all these parents, it's obvious to me that the "Super Dad of Pageants" is doing this for himself and not for his daughter. That said, his love for his kids really shows through.

But I'm still rooting for these little girls; and hoping they'll find the right teacher or book or coach to show them the other side of the leaf. And if thy don't, maybe they'll end up on Bridezilla.

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Dishonorable Schoolboy said...

Which is why the act the heroine puts on that her grandfather taught her in Little Miss Sunshine is so damn funny.

Michael A. Miller said...

Excuse me. I did NOT see a toddler who couldn't walk on her own working the catwalk without a bipedal hog holding her up. 696-KIDS much?

The porcine quality of the moms is what gets me about these horrors. They're just so many sad, subdefective, underachieving, pimping sacs of greedy gelantinous blobules.

LimesNow said...

Good job, Erin, you pushed my hot button. Mr. Miller above has it, in my opinion. The mothers are so lacking any sense of identity or self-esteem, they put all their dashed hopes and dreams on the shoulders of young children and then apply pressure with a steamroller.

The god people should call that the sin of JonBenet, sadly only one little icon.

VideoDude said...

I have worked videotaping pageants in the past. It was horrorfying to watch mothers with toddlers carry out their daughters, and walk the catwalk, with make up and styled hair. It was sick!

Copper said...

Completely horrifying. Little bodies made into objects. Impossible concepts regarding beauty and appearance. Growing up in dressing rooms and back stages...And of course people running the pageants make money off all this. These mothers need to get a life and let their little girls be little girls.

Glass Houses said...

This sort of thing makes me sad. I have a girlfriend who grew up like this. She named her daughter Tiara.

As a teenager, she chose to participate in these events. But when she started? I don't know.

I have mixed feelings here. If my daughter wanted to participate in a beauty pageant would I let her? Maybe. But I also might beat the crap out of whomever introduced the concept to her. I might do both.

Erin O'Brien said...

My daughter is 12 and pretty savvy. I cannot imagine her ever wanting to do such a thing, but I'd have a hard time telling her "no" at this age.

How would I answer the inevitable follow up question, "why not?"

Because of my personal feelings and prejudices about this?

I guess I'd tell her why I dislike pageants so much, ask her to explain why she wanted to do it and then let her make her own decision.

But oh how I cringe when I see those dolled up toddlers.

DogsDontPurr said...

Those poor kids are going to have sooo many issues when they grow up. Heck, just watching those clips made *me* want to go to therapy! And I need to scratch my eyes out now, having watched those fat, fugly mothers coaching the dance routines. Aaaaack!

emmapeelDallas said...

Have you ever noticed how most of the moms are so very unattractive themselves? It's no accident, I think.

dean said...

Ugh. There is just so much wrong with this that I don't know where to start.

philbilly said...

Not mothers, pimps.

Saw a bit on the news last night about a little girl born with a rare condition. Horrific, intestines outside her body, deformed hands, yet now, probably 8or so, she is brilliant, a budding scholar and has a spirit that is totally indomitable. Her mother was one of the finest people I've ever seen.

What a contrast.